The second depressing post in one week. I will try to have something a bit cheery tomorrow.
Had this happened years ago, the recently departed this earth Dr Hugh Wirth would once have been seen in a news clip on tv thundering on about the outrageous deaths of 16 polo ponies.
As I have said in the past, I am not keen on horses but I never want to see them harmed. Polo ponies were transported using proper horse transport vehicles and the Spirit of Tasmania ferry to Tasmania for a competition but upon their return journey to the mainland and and then on to New South Wales, they nearly all died. Aside from it being very warm weather which could be relevant, the cause of the deaths is not known. Of course the deaths are under investigation and hopefully the cause will released to the public and not swept under the carpet. Someone is responsible. Were the horses poisoned, was it a lack of care or was it a communicable disease?
The Spirit of Tasmania media manager person was straight to the offensive and immediately cleared itself of any blame. We don't allow people down on the livestock deck while sailing for security reasons, although exemptions can be made for veterinary treatment. Well, how will anyone know if an animal becomes unwell and need veterinary treatment if no one is allowed onto the livestock deck to check? It's security, says the management of the Spirit of Tasmania, but clearly not the security of the horses.
Now, of course the horses are not let loose on the ship to graze on hay or drink from troughs. They will have stayed in the horse floats. The lead time from when the horses were loaded onto trucks to the time when the Spirit set sail must have been at least two hours. The sea journey takes eleven hours, so we are up thirteen hours.
While I don't know when the horses' deaths were discovered, they were journeying on to NSW and the autopsy is happening in Albury on the border of Victoria and NSW. So add three more hours on the road to near Albury that they have been in the horse floats, plus one hour disembarkation from the Spirit. So what are we up to with my guesstimates? 2+11+1+3 = 17 hours in a horse float in stinking heat. I expect they died well before the 17 hours.
I can't imagine the practicalities of feeding and watering horses over such an extended period in very hot weather in a horse float, but surely that would be part of standard horse transport of great distances in heat? Surely?
It is always a safer and easier option to let the system take its course, but on this occasion I will call it. Criminal charges of some sort need to be laid against someone. Sixteen horses don't just fall down and die without good reason.
Later edit: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/exclusive-spirit-of-tasmania-ship-on-which-16-horses-died-has-history-of-safety-concerns